Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Harrison Reaches ATP Quarterfinal with Win Over Kudla; Tripp Phillips Inspires Novel Featuring John Isner-like Character; Michael Kosta's Futures Past

The match this afternoon between teenage wild cards Denis Kudla and Ryan Harrison at the ATP Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships appeared to have been a very good one, with Harrison taking a 7-5, 7-6(5) decision. Kudla had a set point serving at 6-5 in the second set, but Harrison forced the tiebreaker, and at 5-5 in the tiebreaker, broke and held for the match. Harrison will play qualifier Richard Bloomfield of Great Britain in the quarterfinals, the first time the 18-year-old from Louisiana has reached that stage of an ATP tournament. Bloomfield upset No. 2 seed Santiago Giraldo of Colombia today. Top seed Sam Querrey and defending champion Rajeev Ram also lost in the second round today.

Unlike Harrison, Sloane Stephens did not reach her first quarterfinal, falling to top seed Flavia Penetta of Italy 6-1, 6-1 in the WTA's Bastad, Sweden tournament today.

Tennis Served Fresh's Nick McCarvel posted this interview with novelist Nic Brown about Doubles: A Novel, which just came out (and is available from Amazon via that link). It turns out that Brown has been a close friend of Tripp Phillips, now the assistant men's coach at North Carolina, since Phillips was an All-American at UNC. Brown also grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, John Isner's home. To see how all this became a novel, read the interview, and for more, see this article from indyweek.com.

Phillips, by the way, is again playing World Team Tennis this month, for the St. Louis Aces.

Brown mentions accompanying Phillips when he played on the Futures and Challenger circuit, and his book (which I have not read) certainly features some of the less glamorous parts of the tennis minor leagues. For more on that, see this week's "Sweet Spot" from Tennis Channel's James LaRosa, which is an interview with current standup comedian Michael Kosta, a former college player at Illinois who was the men's assistant at Michigan prior to switching careers.